Improper Conduct Mark Hughes and Stoke City question FA charge

Mark Hughes and Stoke City have questioned the reasoning behind the Welshman's FA charge of improper conduct.

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Mark Hughes and Stoke City have questioned the reasoning behind the manager's Football Association (FA) charge of improper conduct.

Hughes was dismissed from his technical area during last Saturday's 4-0 thrashing at home to Tottenham for disputing the decisions of referee Anthony Taylor.

The FA subsequently charged the former Manchester United and Barcelona striker and, while Hughes has ruled out challenging the ruling, he and the club believe there is a lack of consistency in the way this apparent misdemeanour is dealt with.

A club statement on Friday read: "Stoke City has concerns in relation to a number of elements surrounding both the decision to dismiss Mark from the technical area and the events that followed that led to the subsequent charge being brought. 

"Based on other Premier League matches played on that weekend, the club is concerned in particular that there has been a potentially inconsistent approach in the enforcement by match officials in instances of managers leaving their technical areas, together with an incorrect application of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited's own guidance note on the use of electronic equipment in the technical area in respect of a manager communicating with technical area staff from the directors' seating area after Mark was dismissed from the technical area. 

"The club will be raising these issues with the Football Association and the Professional Game Match Officials Limited separately."

Speaking at his press conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Crystal Palace, Hughes added: "It rubbed a little bit of salt into the wounds but you have heard the club's response, and that mirrors my feelings.

"The incident itself was maybe interpreted differently than I thought it should have been, but it is what it is. The charge relates to my behaviour around the technical area, and it seems to be interpreted differently from one game to the next. It needs to be more consistently followed.

"If that happens then we don't have a problem with it, but at the moment that isn't the case.

"I was sent off for leaving the technical area but my charge is because I didn't leave immediately. That was because I was after clarity of where I was meant to go. I asked the fourth official, who was meant to know, but he didn't give me the answer I was after.

"There is no point appealing because if you appeal and lose, which more often than not you do, then it costs you more money, and I would prefer to give that to my grandchildren."

Stoke head to Selhurst Park propping up the Premier League table, having taken just one point from their opening four games.

"We haven't yet been able to produce a really strong 90-minute performance, but that will come," said Hughes.

"Obviously it is early season form and we have a number of players who maybe aren't at the level that we know we are capable of.

"At the level we play at we need at least eight or nine who are playing at the top of their game. That will change, very quickly I would suggest."

Hughes' task will not be helped by the continued absence of playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri due to a calf problem.

"Xherdan still isn't available. He is progressing, but slowly," said Hughes.

"We have got to the root of the problem and we are building him up to hopefully get back training with the group next week.

"Mame Diouf missed the game last week but he is back now and is likely to be in contention. Glen Johnson has had two or three days training this week too, and he is in my thoughts, which is good news for us."

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